Ditch the Derby and Try a Day at the Races, Caribbean Style
When I think of the spectacle surrounding the yearly running of the Kentucky Derby, I’m often reminded of a quote from Nat King Cole:
The only sport I’m not interested in is horse racing. That’s because I don’t know the horses personally.
All joking aside, that really may be the case in the quest for the multi-million-dollar mega-purses at the Derby, but not so at the fervently followed horse races throughout the West Indies. A day at the races in the islands guarantees getting closer to the action than you’ve probably ever been before. Grandstands are practically on top of the tracks, riders and owners alike mingle amongst the crowds, and you really can get to know each and every horse… uhh… personally.
To be a part of the excitement, one of the best days for horse racing in the islands is Boxing Day, or as it’s known in the States, “The Day After Christmas.” And the best islands for racing are Barbados, the Dominican Republic (at Rancho San Antonio), Jamaica (at Caymanas Race Track), Puerto Rico (at the Hipodromo Camarero), Trinidad (at Santa Rosa) and (only on this list due to our own bias) St. Croix!
This past Boxing Day, I was lucky enough to be in Barbados, so I made a point to pay a visit to the Barbados Turf Club at the historic Garrison Savannah. Located just east of Bridgetown, this storied patch of land has been hosting horse races since 1845! To put things in perspective, Churchill Downs didn’t open its doors until thirty years later in 1875!
So what can you expect from a day at the races in Barbados?
Well, between the rum drinking, horse mingling, pudding and souse eating, betting and cheering, I tried to grab some video to give you can idea. (I got a little excited towards the end, but that was due to all the
rum excitement!) Take a look:
In the case of Barbados, there are approximately 25 race meetings throughout the year running from January to April (Spring Season); May to September (Summer Season) and from November to December (Winter Season). So you’d be hard-pressed to visit the island when there is no racing going on at all.
Visit the Barbados Turf Club online for more information.
I’ll see you at the races!